Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
Why Are You Working So Hard?
August 7, 2008 |
Post to the Host:
The schedule for the Rhubarb tour in August seems quite daunting, seventeen shows in three weeks. I'm sure the people who get to see the show will be thrilled, but, why are you working so hard this summer? Who's minding your tomato plants?
No tomato plants here, just flowers in pots and some birch trees struggling in the drought. And I am a forgetful gardener at best. My parents were terrific gardeners and I was just a little slug in their shadows. We tend to avoid our parents' competence. So I went into this other line of work which includes jumping around on stage, which they never dreamed of doing—would never have done—and because the show is not like any other show, there is an obligation to run it out there and let it be seen. A show doesn't exist unless it goes out onstage. And the touring show is a sort of distillation of parts of the broadcast—hot music, duet singing, poetry, dolphin singing, sound effects, stories, a big two-and-a-half hour carnival. Touring itself is not onerous if you travel with professionals, which I do. Sam Hudson and Albert Webster, with Tom Scheuzger and Ken Evans, handle all of the hard work, and Deb Beck is the tour manager who does the details, and then there's just me and the cast, all of whom are grown-ups who want to be doing this. Pat Donohue and Rich Dworsky are the best musicians I ever got to work with, and every night they come in for sound check and bring an intensity and focus to the show that is the heart and soul of the matter. And Fred Newman is a trouper and a showman from the word go. And now this summer we have Suzy Bogguss who is a real singer's singer. And Andy Stein and his Venuti fiddle and his Gus Cannon saxophone. And Joe Savage our steel guy. And Peter Johnson and Gary Raynor the rhythm section. So you see, it's not hard work really. It's a big last hurrah and then I come back home and work on the novel. That's hard work.